Regenerative Farm Intern Red Shirt Farm
- Date Posted January 31, 2019
- Location Lanesborough, MA
- Category Agriculture
- Job type Full-Time
Red Shirt Farm is a 13-acre, diversified, regenerative no-till farm in Lanesborough, Massachusetts in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains managed by Jim and Annie Schultz. Jim studied ecological agriculture at Sterling College, New Alchemy Institute and The Evergreen State College and apprenticed for three years on small farms around New England. Annie grew up on Caretaker Farm in Williamstown and apprenticed in Maine. We have been developing the farm since we purchased the land in 2000 and are entering our 9th year as a commercial operation.
We employ ecologically-based, regenerative methods to grow 2 acres of mixed vegetables which we provide to a 90-family CSA, a large wholesale account, a few restaurants and a farmers market. No pesticides, herbicides or chemicals of any kind (even organic) are used on the farm and we practice permaculture-based, Biodynamics-inspired no-till methods in our vegetable production and orchard and pasture management. We make a significant portion of the compost that we use on the farm and are actively engaged in remineralizing our soil. We work with Advancing EcoAgriculture and the Bionutrient Food Association to fine-tune our nutrient management program to promote soil health and produce nutrient dense food. A small, multi-species permaculture orchard is just coming into production.
We are part of a Conservation Innovation Grant studying practical organic no-till techniques on small farms in New England. As part of the grant interns will learn how to conduct disease and insect pest scouting and participate in Soil Carbon Proxy Tests which measure the level of biodiversity and other aspects of soil health that are attributable to building soil carbon.
Our infrastructure is constantly evolving but we currently have a barn with vegetable wash area and two walk-in coolers, a heated propagation house, two large greenhouses, a mobile high tunnel and a caterpillar tunnel. The farm is solar-powered and we use a climate battery to heat one of our three greenhouses year-round. We use a wide spectrum of tools appropriate to the task at hand including a tractor, a BCS, and a variety of human-powered implements and hand tools.
Pasture-raised animals are an integral part of our operation and we are committed to preserving and restoring heritage breeds. We want to provide an alternative to the industrial Cornish Cross chicken which pervades over 99% of the market. So we selectively breed, hatch and raise Buckeye and Black Australorp chickens and Standard Bronze turkeys for meat and eggs without the use of hormones or antibiotics. These birds have a slow, natural rate of growth and don't suffer from the health problems of the industrial breeds. Slow Food USA, an organization dedicated to transforming the way we produce, consume and enjoy food, has recognized the Buckeye and the Standard Bronze Turkey in its prestigious “Ark of Taste”—a catalog of endangered, heritage foods that are sustainably produced and notable for their intense flavor. Our poultry is processed humanely on-farm under a Massachusetts state license. We also raise heritage pigs on pasture which we sell as halves and wholes. Several bee hives are kept for pollination and honey production.
When you're not working on the farm, you'll never be at a loss for things to do. The Berkshires is a cultural mecca and a paradise for outdoors enthusiasts. The area boasts over a hundred cultural attractions, many of them world renowned. Take in a concert at Tanglewood; see a show at the Williamstown Theater Festival, Shakespeare and Company or the Barrington Stage; or enjoy art exhibits at the Clark Art Institute, Mass MoCA or the Norman Rockwell Museum. We’re located right at the base of Mt. Greylock, the state’s highest peak—just head out the door to go for a hike, mountain bike or trail run. A number of other state parks dot the area. Take a dip at Pontoosuc Lake, Wahconah Falls or Margaret Lindley Park, all just minutes away. Three other farms in the area host apprentices—make some new friends and hang out after work. Or relax with a book from our extensive sustainable ag library and add some book learning to your new-found hands-on skills.
Be part of a small farm that is making a BIG difference!
Develop hands-on skills in regenerative agriculture that build soil, sequester carbon, enhance natural processes and produce nutrient-dense food. Help us preserve heritage breed animals and learn about intensive pasture management. Share your passion and growing knowledge with our Roots Rising students—a local high school youth group which we partner with. Join our team and contribute to changing the future of food and farming.
Our interns participate in all aspects of the farm’s operations, including the philosophy of regenerative farming methods, the logistics of managing a diverse vegetable and animal farm, and marketing.
On the vegetable side of the operation, apprentices will learn how to seed flats, graft and trellis tomatoes, monitor and water the greenhouses, direct seed and transplant in the fields, amend soil based on soil tests, cover crop, prepare beds, control weeds, manage pests, use tarps and flame weeders for stale seed bedding, harvest, wash and pack, season extension, make compost, make hay and straw for our own mulch, operate a BCS walk-behind tractor, and sell at a farmers market. Tractor operation will be phased in over the course of the season.
On the animal side of the operation, interns will learn about animal husbandry including breeding, incubation, hatching, brooding and pasturing heritage poultry, rearing heritage pigs on pasture, electric fencing and humane processing in our state-licensed mobile poultry processing unit.
The apprenticeship entails about 50-55 hours of work per week, including marketing at the CSA or farmers market for half a day on Saturdays. A typical work day is 6:30am – 5:00pm with a mid-morning break and a 45-minute lunch. There are rotating evening and weekend chores and occasional longer days for "emergency" situations.
Although prior farming experience is not absolutely required, our apprenticeship program is designed for those with a serious professional interest in agriculture. Preference will be given to those with at least one year of experience on a farm and/or to those who intend to start a farm in the future.
You are our ideal candidate if you are honest, responsible, respectful and reliable. You should be self-motivated; take pride in doing high quality work; work well with others and individually; have a good sense of humor and a desire to have fun; and be excited about living in community with others. We need people who are ready to learn, take and give direction, and are excited about working intensely with all types of people. Good people skills are important—you should display a friendly, energetic and engaged demeanor when interacting with CSA members and customers farmers markets, and be comfortable interacting with and leading volunteers, student work groups and WWOOFers. Our Interns, like all of our employees, are held to high standards for organization, attention to detail, communication, positive attitude, respect and kindness for coworkers, work quality, and professional agricultural work ethic and schedule.
The work is physically demanding and can be repetitive at times. You will be outside and on your feet moving most of the day. Bending, squatting, kneeling and lifting for extended periods are part of the job. Expect to get dirty on a regular basis. You should be physically fit and able to lift at least 55 lbs, prepared to work in all weather conditions (wind, rain, heat cold), and find enjoyment in doing manual labor. A valid drivers license is required and your own transportation is desirable. You will also need to have health insurance.
Smoking and drug use are not permitted on the farm.
No pets are allowed—our dogs, cats and hundreds of farm animals will hopefully meet your animal needs.
Education is a primary goal
You will receive substantial education in all aspects of running a small-scale, diversified farm, and enjoy access to the farm’s extensive agricultural library of books and periodicals. You also have the opportunity to participate in CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), which includes regular half-day visits to other farms in the area. If there is interest, interns can learn about and participate in food preservation, yoghurt making, bee-keeping and harvesting honey.
Meals are typically cooked and eaten communally, with rotating responsibilities both in the kitchen and around the farmhouse. We eat a primarily veggie-centric diet supplemented with protein raised on the farm.Compensation this position is : stipend / non-monetary compensation
Details: Apprentices receive room and board on the farm as well as a $900 monthly stipend. You will live in one of two cozy cabins complete with electricity, wi-fi, heating and cooling. A beautiful shared communal space adjacent to the main farm house offers a bathroom, kitchen and hang-out space. Other amenities include laundry facilities, access to the farm library and farm produce for personal use. In addition to vegetables we provide all staple food items. We participate in CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) and provide paid time off (usually every other Monday) for apprentices to visit other participating farms and take part in their training workshops. We also offer three paid days off over the course of the apprenticeship. Work visa This employer is willing to sponsor a work visa for international applicants Application instructions